David Wnendt’s award-winning feature film debut “Combat Girls,” about a young woman trying to break free from an ultra-violent gang of neo-Nazis, is drawing strong interest across Europe.
The pic, which is currently in theaters in Germany, has sold to Luna Filmverleih in Austria, Cinema EU in Bulgaria, Film Europe for Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary; KT Film & Media in Macedonia and Entertainment One for the Benelux. Ascot Elite is distributing the film in Germany and Switzerland, while Spectator has brought the pic to Polish screens.
The film has attracted plenty of attention in light of an ongoing investigation in Germany into the murder spree allegedly committed by a notorious neo-Nazi trio that managed to escape detection for more than a decade.
Police suspect two rightwing terrorists, who died in an apparent murder-suicide in November, killed 10 people, most of foreign origin, over a 10-year span. The story has generated indignation at the failure of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, which is known to keep tight tabs on neo-Nazi groups, and put a new focus on rightwing extremist groups.
“Rightwing extremism had not really been a major topic in Germany for years as the focus shifted to Islamic terrorism,” said “Combat Girls” producer Rene Frotscher of Berlin-based Mafilm.
That changed with the massacre in Norway last summer and the story of the alleged neo-Nazi killers in Germany. “It came as a big surprise that these big underground structures existed that were able to hide these neo-Nazis,” Frotscher said, generating stronger interest at the B.O. as a result.
It’s also become a must-see for school classes across the country. “It’s not just a German discussion,” Frotscher said about the subject matter. It’s about how the lack of structures can allow young people to fall prey to racist groups and their extremist ideology, he added.
“Combat Girls” has made nearly $500,000 at the German box office and remained high in the country’s arthouse charts.